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Senate Sends Workers' Comp Overhaul to Fallin

Back injuries are a common workers' compensation claim.
Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Senate has approved a Republican-backed plan to overhaul the state's workers' compensation system, sending the proposal to Gov. Mary Fallin for her likely signature.

The nearly 300-page bill went through several rewrites and adjustments before passing the House, and the Senate approved the House version with a 35-12 vote Tuesday along party lines. All Democrats present opposed the bill.

The plan would convert Oklahoma's judicial workers' compensation system to an administrative system, bringing it in line with most other states. It allows businesses to opt out of the system within certain guidelines.

Republicans say it will save time and money for all involved. But Democrats say the bill saves money by cutting injured worker benefits. Minority Leader Sen. Sean Burrage says it does little about rising medical costs.

The changes in the House restored reductions in compensation for major injuries and surviving spouses.

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